The presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church called the evangelical notion that individuals can be right with God a “great Western heresy” that is behind many problems facing the church and the wider society.
Describing a United States church in crisis, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori told delegates to the group’s triennial meeting July 8 in Anaheim, Calif., that the overarching connection to problems facing Episcopalians has to do with “the great Western heresy — that we can be saved as individuals, that any of us alone can be in right relationship with God.”
“It’s caricatured in some quarters by insisting that salvation depends on reciting a specific verbal formula about Jesus,” Jefferts Schori, the first woman to be elected as a primate in the worldwide Anglican Communion three years ago, said. “That individualist focus is a form of idolatry, for it puts me and my words in the place that only God can occupy, at the center of existence, as the ground of being.”
…Jefferts Schori said “heretical and individualistic understanding” contributes to problems like neglect for the environment and the current worldwide economic recession.
I wonder if the Bishop has ever encountered this passage:
32“Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.
33But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.
34“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
35 For I have come to turn
” ‘a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law –
36a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’
37“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;
38and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
That statement is also in Luke. So it originates in Q, the source of Matthew and Luke, and it is therefore very, very early, and very, very reliable. And it’s worse than that – you can find something similar in the earliest gospel, Mark. So it is pretty clear that what is required to be saved is the individual decision to acknowledge Jesus and follow Jesus.
Here’s one more story from OneNewsNow about the Episcopalian church.
Episcopalians are moving toward affirming an open role for homosexual clergy in their church despite pressure from fellow Anglicans not to do so.
Episcopal bishops voted at a national meeting yesterday for a statement that says “God has called and may call” homosexual men and women to ministry. Delegates to the meeting already approved a nearly identical statement. This latest version is likely to be approved by Friday.
Episcopalians caused an uproar in 2003 by consecrating the first openly homosexual bishop, Vicki Gene Robinson of New Hampshire. That decision has nearly split the world Anglican Communion, which includes Episcopalians.
To calm tensions, Episcopal leaders three years ago had urged restraint by dioceses considering homosexual candidates for bishop. No openly homosexual bishops have been consecrated since then.
And don’t forget my previous post about the Rev. Ragsdale, another Episcopalian, who thinks that abortion should be made into a sacrament. She is the new Dean of Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.